Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Muay Thai, Judo, MMA or whatever martial art or combat sport discipline you study, competition inspires many to take their game to the next level. Wanting to improve their skills and get into the best shape of their lives.

The experience of competition creates a purpose, a real reason to keep training hard and remain hungry for knowledge and new techniques.

However, competition (and training for competition) can be intense and so we need to take proper care for our bodies.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy has become a necessary ingredient for a complete work-out.

More and more people are realising that a complete routine includes not only the exercise itself, but also caring for the wear and tear and minor injuries that naturally occur with strenuous movement.

The physiological and psychological benefits of massage make it an idealcompliment to a total conditioning program.

Recovery therapeutic massage helps the body recover from the stresses of strenuous exercise, and facilitates the re-building phase of the conditioning.

The physiological benefits of massage include improved blood and lymph circulation, muscle relaxation and general relaxation.

These in turn lead to the removal of waste products and better cell nutrition, normalisation and greater elasticity of tissues, deactivation of trigger points, and faster healing of injuries. It all adds up to relief of soreness, better flexibility and less potential of future injury.

Three Areas of Sports Massage

Sports massage may involve prevention and maintenance programs, on site treatment before and after and event and rehabilitation programs for those who are injured during the event.

Maintenance Massage

Maintenance program for athletes involves zeroing in on particular muscle groups and working sport specific tissues. The sports therapist can help the athlete maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility.

The overall objective of maintenance massage is to help the athlete reach optimal performance through injury-free training.

Event Massage

Pre-event massage is designed to prepare the athlete for optimal performance. The massage is firm but light and aims to increase tissue elasticity while enhancing mobility, increasing fast and slow twitch muscle fibre response, improving muscle to brain communication and reducing anxiety.
Inter/intra-event massage takes place on the day at the event on the bench, side lines or in the club rooms. The massage often consists of fast strokes, light to medium pressure with the aim to warm muscle quickly and increase muscle response; allowing the athlete be fully prepared for quick sharp or slow and controlled movements.
Post-event massage is given after a competition and is mainly concerned with recovery. It is geared towards reducing muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise. This massage type aids tissue normalisation and repair after competition, general relaxation and mental calming.

Rehabilitation Massage

Rehabilitation massage event with preventative maintenance muscles cramp, tear, bruise and ache sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process.
In summary, sports massage therapy can:
  • Reduce the chance of injury, through proper stretching and event preparation and through deep tissue massaging.
  • Improve range of motion and muscle flexibility, resulting in improved power and performance.
  • Shorten recovery time between workouts.
  • Maximise the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow.
  • Enhance elimination of metabolic by-products, of exercise.


The best way to prevent muscle tears is to warm up thoroughly as well as having a massage and stretching before competition. Increased flexibility increases an athletes speed and agility.

Muscles that are fully stretched are less likely to become injured. Stretching should be performed after a pre-event massage and before the athlete trains or competes.

Stretching should be performed after the athlete competes and before the post-event massage. The aim of stretching is to lengthen muscles, tendons and other soft tissues so that movement doesn’t cause excessive strain.
There are a number of ways a muscle can be stretched but the two most common and safest are:

Static Stretching

This is where a stretch is performed to within the comfort zone. This position is then held for about 15-30 seconds, released and then repeated.

The feeling of mild tension experienced at this level should subside during the duration of the stretch. A static stretch attempts to increase the resting length of a muscle.

PNF Stretching (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation)

This is where a static stretch is followed by an isometric contraction of the muscle against an immoveable resistance for 6 – 10 seconds. The athlete resists against your holding position with only 10% of their strength.

Once the therapist removes the immoveable resistance, they then relax the muscle and take it to its new range. The process can be repeated 3-5 times.

Examples of Stretching Techniques

Jostling on the spot: shaking, lightly jumping etc. Sends message to the brain which then impacts on the ‘Golgi tendon’ in the cell allowing for the muscle, ligament and joints to relax.
Lower Body:
    1. Ankles flexion/extension and circles.
    2. Knee circles (forwards and backwards motion).
    3. Side step adduction stretch.
    4. Forward lunge.
    5. Hamstring stretch (body weight on back squatted leg).
    6. Controlled leg swing (forwards and backwards motion).
    7. Lying down, knee across the body. Stretching the buttock.
    8. Lying on back bring knee to chest one leg at a time.
Upper body:
    1. Neck flexion/extension/lateral flexion. Note:Use your opposite hand to the side of the neck being stretched to provide gentle resistance for a greater stretch.
    2. Tricep, Bicep, forearm, wrist and hands flexion/extension.
    3. Straight arm across body (chest).
    4. Seated kneeling position on floor, extend arms in front of you stretching the lower back.
    5. Assisted wall stretch (bent elbow) stretching the chest.


Training and competition creates an overload to stress the body, which in turn produces fatigue followed later by improved performance.

What athletes do after their exercise and work-out regime can affect their muscle recovery.

The post exercise routine can impact both fitness and sports performance. It is thus important to have an after exercise recovery plan.

Some recommendations include:

  • Sufficient rest
  • Gentle stretching
  • A good nutritional plan
  • Adequate fluid replacement
  • Sport specific related massage
  • Ice water immersion
It is important to keep all of the above in mind when thinking about your recovery as a holistic approach will give a better response rather than an isolated recovery technique.

Read more about combat sports massage here.

For martial art and combat sport specific treatment call Jason on 07980339864

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